STAGS BEATEN BY LAST MINUTE FLUKE GOAL
Blue Square Premier
Rushden & Diamonds 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Luke Jones OG 90+2
Attendance: 1822 (506 from Mansfield)
Date: 19 September 2009
Martin Shaw at Nene Park
In a strange game at Nene Park, Mansfield were cruelly beaten by a 92nd minute fluke goal as a header that was never going in deflected off Luke Jones and into the top corner of the net. Rushden had started very well in creating an incredible 11 chances to the Stags two, in the opening 27 minutes, with Lee Tomlin smacking the inside of the post. But the game changed on 28 minutes when Stags skipper Gary Mills fouled Tomlin - it was a bad challenge, but that didn't excuse Tomlin getting up and squaring up to Mills and the players appeared to clash heads. The referee immediately sent both players off - the correct decision in my opinion. From that moment, Rushden ran out of ideas, and had only one more half-chance in the entire game, until the last minute fluke. The Stags, while never playing especially well, did look more likely winners in the second half, as Duffy was thwarted by a wonder-save from Nathan Abbey as he had been in the first half, and then Speight looked lively as a substitute late on. The Stags didn't do enough to deserve a win, but seemed to be comfortably holding on for a point until that last minute sickener. Two points from the last 5 games is a very worrying run. However if the Stags could get a victory over Oxford on Tuesday night, with games coming up against Hayes, Barrow and Forest Green, then they would be right on track. It looks like a big night on Tuesday - come on Mansfield.
Stagsnet report in the Match Centre
report from thediamondsfc.com:
Rushden & Diamonds 1 Mansfield Town 0
A late Cliff Akurang winner in injury time gave the Diamonds victory at Nene Park for the second Saturday running. The three points were well merited on the strength of the Diamonds play in the first quarter, but the dismissals of Lee Tomlin and Gary Mills changed the game totally, after the Diamonds had dominated that period. The Diamonds had nine great chances in those first 20 minutes, but had to rely on an Akurang header that was deflected over Alan Marriott by one of his defenders in the second minute of injury time.
Debutant goalkeeper Nathan Abbey made two great saves, one in each half, as the Diamonds kept a clean sheet. The Diamonds had 12 attempts on target in the game, with their opponents only managing to find the target with the two headed attempts by Robert Duffy that resulted in the Abbey saves.
As well as including Nathan Abbey for his first Diamonds appearance, manager Edinburgh brought back Simon Downer at the expense of the unfortunate Max Porter. Dale Roberts took a place on the bench, alongside Porter, Cousins, Reid and budding super-sub Cliff Akurang.
The Stags included ex-Diamonds Alan Marriott, Rob Duffy and Gary Mills in their starting line-up, with Daryl Clare on the bench.
The action started straight from the first whistle, with the Diamonds threatening down both flanks, with Pattison and Tomlin starting as they had done against Grays. Matt Pattison engineered the first chance as he cut inside and hit a short pass to Craig Farrell, who continues to show he has excellent touch and vision, and he laid the ball back to Mark Byrne, who hit a defence splitting pass to Aaron O'Connor, who was flagged offside.
The Diamonds then won the first of many corners on the right, and the ball was flicked across the area to Lee Tomlin, whose first shot was blocked, but he quickly adjusted to hit a second shot on the volley, with this one saved by Alan Marriott.
With barely five minutes gone the Diamonds had their third great chance, as Tomlin found O'Connor in the area, but his excellent turn was followed by a shot that was just left of the target.
The action continued down the right, with Farrell pressure forcing a defender to head into the path of Matt Pattison, who crossed for Tomlin to run in and hit a shot into the ground that bounced over the bar.
Farrell was causing the Stags problems through the middle, and he created the Diamonds fifth great chance for himself, after just nine minutes, as he ran past Jones who hesitated under a long ball, but chipped his attempt over the bar.
A Diamonds free kick saw Jamie Stuart flick the ball backwards with his head to Tomlin, but his attempt was caught by Marriott.
The Stags finally got out of their own half after 10 minutes, as Blair Sturrock ran down the left and hit a good cross onto the head of Rob Duffy, but Nathan Abbey silenced the taunts of the travelling fans with a great save.
Another Diamonds free kick again saw Jamie Stuart flick the ball on - with this time Craig Farrell seeing attempt caught by Marriott.
With the game only 15 minutes old the Diamonds had their eighth great chance, with Matt Pattison shooting narrowly wide after being set up by Tomlin.
Shortly before the end of the first quarter the Diamonds could easily have got the deserved opening goal. Lee Tomlin picked up the ball mid way inside his own half, beating Matt Somner easily, and seeing him quickly give up the chase, he ran on and once again left Silk flat-footed as he cut in from the left to hit a powerful shot that had Marriott well beaten, but saw the shot bounce back off the post.
Paul Terry also got into the goalmouth action as he went close with a header, and Aaron O'Connor saw a good run and 1-2 with Craig Farrell end up with his shot hitting the side netting as the Diamonds were rampant. Mark Byrne also went close from 20 yards as he latched on to a defensive header from a corner.
However, as the game neared the 30 minute mark, the whole complexion changed. Ex-Diamond Gary Mills launched into a challenge on Lee Tomlin that looked more than worthy of a red card, leaving Tomlin incensed, and he got up to remonstrate with Mills. As other players got involved, referee Joyce pulled out his red card and waved it at both Mills and Tomlin.
The Mills challenge was a particularly poignant one for those Diamonds fans who had seen him stretchered off at Oxford following a challenge, but the net effect of the two red cards meant that the Diamonds period of total dominance was ended, and the game was rather even and uneventful from then on - especially in comparison to those first 30 minutes.
The Stags made a substitution to rearrange their 10 men, with Steven Istead replacing wide-left midfielder Ryan Williams.
It quickly became clear that the Mills incident had a bigger effect on the Diamonds, as their dozen or so chances prior to the dismissals were a distant memory by half-time.
The Stags desperation to get back into the game was highlighted in a number of incidents where their strikers might have been described as "going down rather easily", notably Blair Sturrock when he was being shepherded away from the area by Curtis Osano, and he was rather lucky to escape a yellow card.
Referee Joyce did show cards to Briscoe after he appeared to react to a challenge from Kurt Robinson, and then to Matt Somner. This card was in response to a foul committed at the start of a move that the referee allowed to continue to the Diamonds advantage, but Steve Istead would have to consider himself fortunate to not see yellow for the tackle that ended that move, or for a similar poor challenge a few minutes later.
Half-Time: Rushden & Diamonds 0 Mansfield Town 0
The second half was an even affair, with the Diamonds switching to play with three at the back, allowing Kurt Robinson to push into left midfield.
Neither side created many clear-cut chances in the second half, with the tempo of the game significantly slowed. Nathan Abbey was called upon to make his second excellent save of the game, again from a Robert Duffy header. At the other end Alan Marriott saved from a Craig Farrell shot and Kurt Robinson seemed to be enjoying being pushed further forwards as he broke through the middle before being well challenged on the edge of the box.
One talking point was the yellow card awarded to Nathan Abbey early in the half when he risked catching a long ball on the edge of his penalty area, and was adjudged to have accidentally strayed outside. As there was no immediate threat on goal, the yellow card appeared the correct decision. It was from the resultant free kick that he made his save from the Duffy header. so he had quickly made amends.
Both sides completed their allowed substitutions during the half, but neither side looked like creating the necessary chance to score the winner. The Stags had more possession than they had seen in the first half, but were unable to add to their total of two efforts on target.
Just after the referee announced there would be three minutes of added time, Jamie Stuart showed his strength and determination to win a double tackle near the half-way line, the second part of which saw him on the ground, but still able to get the ball forward to Max Porter on the left. Porter took the ball forwards and won a throw in off Gary Silk, who had seen such a torrid 30 minutes facing Lee Tomlin. Kurt Robinson went forward to take the throw, which was then laid back to Jamie Stuart to fire a cross towards the far post. Cliff Akurang rose well above his marker and headed towards goal, with the ball deflecting off the head of Luke Jones and over the despairing leap of Alan Marriott.
There was still time for referee Joyce to issue a further card as Mark Byrne picked up a yellow for a foul challenge,
Although the goal tally did not match that of the previous weekend, the entertainment at Nene Park continues at a level not seen for several seasons, especially in that first 30 minute period.
Full Time: Rushden & Diamonds 1 Mansfield Town 0
Manager Edinburgh was delighted with the result, the clean sheet, and the attacking domination of the first quarter, although he had expect some of those chances to be converted. He also confirmed the club are considering an appeal against the Tomlin booking, given his reaction to such a poor challenge did not involve any violent conduct.
The Diamonds now have a short break before the long trip to Gateshead for the game on Tuesday evening.
Rushden & Diamonds (White / Blue): Nathan Abbey, Curtis Osano, Kurt Robinson, Paul Terry (Max Porter 75), Jamie Stuart (Capt), Simon Downer, Lee Tomlin, Mark Byrne, Craig Farrell (Cliff Akurang 58), Aaron O'Connor, Matt Pattison (James Reid 67)
Subs Not Used: Dale Roberts, Neil Cousins
Mansfield Town (Yellow / White): Alan Marriott, Gary Mills, Luke Jones, Scott Garner, Louis Briscoe, Matt Somner, Rob Duffy (Jake Speight 58), Ryan Williams (Steven Istead 29), Craig Armstrong, Gary Silk, Blair Sturrock (Kyle Mix 74)
Subs Not Used: Daryl Clare, Luke Graham
Goal: Akurang (90+2)
Yellow Cards: Briscoe (foul), Somner (persistent fouls), Abbey (handling outside area), Stuart (dissent), Istead (persistent fouls), Byrne (foul)
Red Cards : Mills (foul) Tomlin (reaction to foul) - both after 28 minutes.
Referee: Mr Ross Joyce (Cleveland)
Attendance: 1822 (away 506)
Diamonds Man of the Match: Nathan Abbey
Rushden and Diamonds 1 Mansfield Town 0, Saturday 19th September
CHAD.co.uk, 19 September 2009, By John Lomas
STAGS skipper Gary Mills was sent off on his return to former club Rushden and Diamonds today as the Stags were cruelly sunk by a deflected goal three minutes into stoppage time.
Mills, who had two spells at Nene Park, was dismissed on 28 minutes for an angry clash with star home winger Lee Tomlin who was also shown a red card after Mills had fouled him with a clattering tackle.
The game then seemed to be heading for a 0-0 draw until right at the death when a Cliff Akurang header was cruelly deflected over Alan Marriott off the head of a helpless Luke Jones when the initial header had looked to be going well wide.
Rushden had dominated the first half with Marriott, another Diamonds old boy, in good form.
But, for all the home side's possession and threat, the two best saves of the afternoon had come from Rushden's Nathan Abbey, one in each half to keep out goalbound Rob Duffy headers.
It left the Stags with just one point to show from their last four games.
But it was another former Diamonds player, Stags keeper Alan Marriott, who kept the visitors level with some good saves, rescued on the one occasion he was beaten by the post.
Rob Duffy did force one good stop from home keeper Nathan Arnold, but otherwise Stags struggled to keep the lively Diamonds at bay.
Mansfield were without top scorer Kyle Perry as he began a three game suspension for last weekend's red card.
Replacing him and making his full debut was recent signing Blair Sturrock.
Otherwise the Stags were unchanged as they looked to end a run of just one point from the last three games.
With reserve keeper Tim Sandercombe nursing a knock, the visitors went without a keeper on the bench.
Diamonds are unbeaten in their last four outings and have scored 11 goals in their last three games. They included striker Aaron O'Connor, who was released from Field Mill in the summer.
O'Connor almost opened the scoring against his old club after Byrne slipped him through on goal with only 40 seconds on the watch. Thankfully an offside flag was raised to spare Stags a nightmare start.
In the third minute Tomlin had two attempts at the far post from Farrell's cross from the right, the first blocked by Silk and the second a low shot, deflected across the face of goal for the first of two corners.
From the second Osano saw his header kicked away from just in front of goal as the home side piled on the pressure.
O'Connor came close on six minutes as he got goalside of Jones in the box and, despite the defender pulling him back, he stayed on his feet and whipped a low effort right across the goalmouth.
The visitors' goal was under serious threat again on nine minutes as Pattison lofted a high ball in from the right which invited the volley from the incoming Tomlin. But he hit the ball into the ground and saw it bounce up and over the target.
Still Diamonds poured forward and Farrell got into the box on the right and drew the keeper before lobbing over the far angle.
Then Tomlin outjumped Jones to get a backheader at Marriott from a Stuart free kick.
Stags finally gave Abbey some work to do on 11 minutes.
Sturrock tricked his way to the left by-line and chipped the ball across for Duffy who got in a powerful header which Abbey saved low to his left before Robinson put the loose ball behind for a corner.
When Mansfield failed to win the first ball on an Osano free kick, Farrell threw himself into another on-target header but almost straight at Marriott.
Silk did well to cut out a low Pattison ball intended for Tomlin, who was racing in behind the full back. And soon after another offside flag halted O'Connor on a swift counter-attack.
Duffy might have done better on 18 minutes as he failed to get over an inviting Williams cross from the left by-line, his header ballooning over.
Abbey was in trouble when he failed to hold Williams' cross to the far post where Sturrock was unable to squeeze it home with two defenders quickly in the way.
Tomlin thought he had opened the scoring on 22 minutes with a vicious low drive from 20 yards which hit the inside of the far post. But, as he began to celebrate, the ball failed to go in off the woodwork and somehow cannoned back out again.
Stags allowed Terry a free header from a Tomlin free kick soon after but he failed to get his finish wide enough of Marriott who was able to stretch and grab the ball out of the air to his left.
O'Connor forced a good save out of Marriott as he turned a powerful shot round the near post. Then Byrne tested him from long range with a well executed volley.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men after a 28th minute bust-up between Mills and Tomlin. Tomlin reacted angrily to a Mills challenge and the pair squared up with other players racing in to join the pushing and shoving.
The referee had no hesitation in dismissing both of them for raising their hands to each other.
Stags sent on Istead to replace Williams in an attempt to plug the gap left by their skipper and former Rushden star.
Briscoe was cautioned for dissent on the half-hour as the game began to turn ill-tempered.
Marriott made another smart save after Farrell turned Jones and let fly with a bullet of a shot from the right of the penalty area.
Somner came off the worst from a clash of heads with O'Connor before the Stags midfielder was booked for the last of a string of fouls as the referee lost patience with him.
But, despite all the home side's pressure, the visitors were still all square at the break.
The visitors settled quickly after the break to keep possession of the ball much better than they had in the first half without finding a way through the home defence.
Abbey was booked for grabbing the ball just outside the box to the right as Briscoe threatened to reach it.
But from the free kick by Sturrock a minute later Duffy got in a close range far post header which saw Abbey somehow again get down to deny the striker a second time.
Home centre half Stuart was added to the names in the book on 55 minutes for a foul.
Marriott was again comfortably positioned to take a 30 yard blast from Farrell.
Then a superb long cross from almost the corner flag by Silk picked out Duffy whose powerful header was too high. The big centre forward then began limping and on the next stoppage in play was replaced by Speight.
Byrne got a header on target from 20 yards as Stags tried to clear their lines from a free kick given harshly against Silk for the best tackle of the game, Marriott again in the way.
Nix took over from Sturrock in the midfield for the last 16 minutes.
A Briscoe flick-on from an Armstrong free kick bounced tantalisingly in front of Speight but rolled through to Abbey before he could pounce.
Diamonds had posed little threat after the break, Byrne curling one well over from 25 yards as the game seemed to be petering towards a 0-0 draw.
Stags threatened again briefly as Speight rolled a pass to Nix in the box. But as he drew the keeper to the right of the goal, his low square pass was poor and to no one.
Soon after the impressive Speight cut inside from the left and blazed over the top.
Istead's body check on Downer earned him the game's fifth booking six minutes from time.
A minute later Silk was wide with a 20 yard shot.
But Stags were dramatically undone three minutes into stoppage time as Akurang jumped to get a head onto a Robinson cross and the ball then bounced off the head of defender Jones to loop cruelly over a helpless Marriott and under the angle.
The goal was credited to the Rushden man but surely will be changed to an own goal from Jones at some stage.
But it was a sickening end to a gritty display that deserved at least a point for the visitors.
STAGS: Marriott; Silk, Jones, Garner, Armstrong; Briscoe, Somner, Mills, Williams (Istead 30); Sturrock (Nix 74), Duffy (Speight 59). Subs not used: Clare, Graham.
DIAMONDS: Abbey; Osano, Downer, Stuart, Robinson; Pattison (Reid 68), Byrne, Terry (Porter 76), Tomlin; O'Connor, Farrell (Akurang 59). Subs not used: Roberts, Cousins.
REFEREE: Ross Joyce of Cleveland.
ATTENDANCE: 1,822 (506 away).
CAUTIONS: Stags – Briscoe 32, Somner 43, Istead 84. Rushden – Abbey 53, Stuart 55, Byrne 90 (+4).
DISMISSALS: Rushen – Tomlin 28 (violent conduct). Stags – Mills 28 (violent conduct).
Rushden & Diamonds 1 Mansfield Town 0
Evening Post report
A FREAK goal three minutes into stoppage time condemned luckless Mansfield to their third defeat in a row at Rushden this afternoon.
The Stags looked to have bounced back from defeats against Kidderminster and Stevenage with a battling point in a goal-less stalemate.
But, with time running out, Kurt Robinson's left-wing cross was headed goalwards by Cliff Akurang but looked to be heading into the arms of Marriott.
The ball struck the unfortunate Scott Jones, looped over the Mansfield keeper and gave Diamonds victory.
Both sides were reduced to ten men just before the hour mark as Stags captain Gary Mills and Lee Tomlin clashed.
Rushden had much the better of the first half and Marriott performed ably in the visiting goal.
But his opposite number Nathan Abbey arguably made the best two saves of the match to twice deny Rob Duffy.
Early on, Lee Tomlin twice went close as he first had a shot blocked by Gary Silk and then lashed the follow-up wide of the right-hand post.
Ex-Stag Aaron O'Connor was in the clear again in the sixth minute as he got goalside of Luke Jones, this time on the left-hand side of the box, but powered wide of goal when he should have scored.
The Diamonds continued to shine as Matt Pattison got to the right byline and crossed for Tomlin at the back stick but he volley bounced into the ground and over the top.
Craig Farrell also failed to test Marriott as he found space in the box, his lob flying too high.
After a slow start, Mansfield suddenly burst into life when Blair Sturrock turned neatly on the left and sent over a pinpoint cross. Duffy won his header and directed it towards the right-hand corner but Abbey got down well to make a fine save by the foot of his post.
Duffy had another headed chance in the 18th minute, this time Ryan Williams supplying the ammunition, but could not get over the ball and it sailed over the bar.
Both sides went close within 30 seconds as first Abbey dropped a Williams cross and Sturrock's volley was blocked on the line.
Then, as Rushden broke quickly, Tomlin cut in from the left and unleashed a 20-yard rocket that crashed against the right-hand upright with Marriott beaten.
Midway through the half, Farrell was left unmarked in the box from a free-kick but Marriott managed to scramble back to collect his looping header.
Next to go close for Diamonds was O'Connor as Marriott tipped his fizzing shot around the left-hand post.
Both sides were reduced to ten men in the 28th minute as Tomlin reacted angrily to a strong challenge by Gary Mills.
The two squared up to each other, heads touching and there was plenty of pushing going on as other players piled in. In the end, both of the instigators saw red.
Farrell turned Jones adroitly in the box as the game moved past the half hour and Marriott again made the save.
Steven Istead, who had come on for Williams soon after the sendings off, went down in the box as the first half came to a close, but the referee was unmoved.
There was a spot kick appeal at the other end at the start of the second period when Farrell went down under the attention of Jones but, again, the officials were unimpressed.
In the 52nd minute, Sturrock played the ball through for Briscoe to chase and, as Abbey came to intervene, he handled the ball out if his area.
The keeper was booked and from the resulting free-kick he made another good stop to keep out Duffy's header from Sturrock's ball in.
Farrell let fly from 25 yards but shot at Marriott while Mansfield's response saw Duffy head over the top from Silk's right-wing centre.
With 72 minutes on the watch, substitute Jake Speight flicked on for Sturrock but the ball ran through to Abbey as he looked to burst clear.
It was another near thing for the Stags minutes later when Briscoe headed down Armstrong's free-kick only for the ball to hop over Speight's outstretched leg in the box.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes, the lively Speight threaded in Nix, only for the replacement for Sturrock to scuff his shot from a tight angle.
Speight then cut in from the left to drill a shot too high to test Abbey.
But, deep into stoppage time, Mansfield's hearts were broken by the late goal.
Latest | September 2009